Household Items That Cause Indoor Air Pollution

While it is common knowledge that second-hand smoke, molds and radon gas impair the quality of air indoors, there are other sources of air pollution indoors that are not as obvious. Findings from the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that indoor air is up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. This is especially harmful to those who spend more time at home than out of it. There are a number of these indoor pollutants that are more commonly known than others and here, we take a look at a few sources of indoor pollution.

New Carpet

As much as the smell of a new carpet may feel okay, it is actually emitting dangerous volatile organic compounds including benzene, ethylbenzene, bromine, acetone, styrene, toluene, and formaldehyde. Regular exposure to these organic chemicals has been to cause eye irritation, headaches, drowsiness, allergies, and throat irritation.

Paints

Homes coated in old paints could cause damage to the brain and lungs. Some individuals may still live in older homes coated in lead paints which have been banned since the late 1970s. Even after decades of using a lead to coat a room, it could still be toxic. As the paint pills off into chips, these chips break down into microscopic pieces that become a part of the dust you breathe. Newer paints can also be harmful as many of them contain hazardous volatile organic compounds and can emit these chemicals for even months after the room is coated.

Air Fresheners

Air fresheners are great for covering up bad indoor odors. However, they could actually worsen the quality of indoor air by emitting toxic pollutants that are harmful to the health. Phthalates – especially harmful to children and newborns, are used to support the fragrance of many air fresheners. They contain endocrine disruptors, could hamper the development of male sex organs and lead to the abnormal development of the male genitalia.

Ozone Generators

In a bid to clean up indoor air and improve the quality of breathable air, ozone generators have been produced to get rid of toxins. However, some of these devices contain large concentrations of ozone – a potent lung irritant. While the smell of ozone could feel sweet and pleasant, routine exposure to it has been linked to the aggravation of chronic lung diseases like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Liver Disease (COPD).

Kitchen Stove

A gas stove is a very important item in the kitchen and you do not necessarily have to get rid of it. However, they emit nitrogen dioxide – a highly reactive gas that creates toxic organic nitrates when mixed with air. This could lead to irritation of the lungs, increasing the body’s susceptibility to respiratory infections.

This could be even worse when gas stoves are used in a poorly ventilated kitchen. Ensure the kitchen is well ventilated during and after cooking – a ventilation fan of high quality would be ideal. Where a ventilation fan is not available, try to cook close to open window to improve the quality of air in the kitchen – and indoors!

 

Home Air Quality Check for Healthy Indoor Air

Renaud Air offers accurate air quality tests. Learn more about the air you breathe at home.

5 Health Benefits Of Fresh Air

While growing up, the activities we engaged in – swinging at the park, cruising on bikes with friends and generally participating in outdoor activities actually go a long way to provide us with fresh, healthy air. However, as adults, most of our time is spent indoors. Scientific studies have shown that some fresh air outdoor will really do you some good.

Fresh Air Can Boost your Immune System

Engaging in outdoor exercise leads to an increase in natural killer cells, monocytes, and neutrophils which can boost immune function. Fresh oxygen leads to improved white blood cell function which can help fight against germs and bacteria. So it may just be about the right time you stepped out of your office or close quarters that expose you to a lot of germs and breathe in some quality air.

Fresh Air is great for your Lungs

When sitting at a confined place, air flow is not as great – apical breathing which involves inhaling air into the top of your lungs is more of a normal experience. On the other hand, outdoor activities – jogging or taking a walk can increase diaphragmatic breathing so your breathing is deeper, ensuring air is drawn to the bottom of the lungs. More airborne toxins are expelled through this process, helping to cleanse your respiratory system.

Improved Cell Function

Fresh air or oxygen improves the efficiency and function of your body cells. Fresh air helps you digest your food properly – more reason you are advised to take a small walk outside after eating. Fresh air also aids tissue renewal, muscle contraction and production of hormones.

Fresh Air improves Happiness

The amount of fresh oxygen you inhale determines the amount of serotonin in your body and serotonin release can significantly lighten your mood, promoting a sense of happiness and well-being. This is the reason you feel happy and relaxed whenever you engage in mild outdoor activities in the presence of fresh air. Every individual loves to be happy, everyone should love fresh air!

Improved Brain function

20% of inhaled oxygen is used by your brain to function. Hence, for optimal brain activity, it is only normal that you engage in more outdoor activities to improve your brain function so you can concentrate, focus and think better.

There is an abundance of fresh, clean air around us and for this, we are lucky. Avoid staying in polluted areas and engage in outdoor activities as much as possible and experience a happier, fresher life.

 

Home Air Quality Check for Healthy Indoor Air

Renaud Air offers accurate air quality tests. Learn more about the air you breathe at home.

How Indoor Air Pollution Affects Your Health

Indoor air pollution can be really detrimental to the health sometimes even more dangerous than outdoor air pollution. Contaminants such as gases and particles can pollute the air of the indoor environment and could lead to respiratory disease, or even cancer in some cases. It is important we recognize these pollutants and do all we can to avoid them in our immediate environment.

Cancer

This could arise if asbestos is in your home. Asbestos could be found in various materials used in the construction of homes such as coatings, ceiling, building materials; floor tiles and paints although newer products today do not contain asbestos. However, if found in your home, asbestos could lead to asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and other related cancers.

Infectious Diseases

Contaminants such as bacteria, dust mites or animal dander in the home could lead to serious health effects such as throat irritation, flu, asthma and other infectious diseases.

Irritation of delicate body parts

Formaldehyde is another source of indoor pollution which could lead to irritation of the eyes, throat, nose, as well as allergy and in some cases, it could lead to cancer. In fact, its production has been banned in the United States since 1970 but can still be found in wood floors, paints, and sealants so they could still find their way to your home.

Respiratory Diseases

Tobacco smoke that can come as a result of indoor and outdoor activities could be a source of indoor air pollution. Individuals who inhale tobacco smoke could suffer from pneumonia, bronchitis, irritation of the respiratory tract, lung cancer, heart related diseases and emphysema.

Heart Diseases

Indoor air pollution could lead to diseases of the heart. This is especially true for those who might have suffered a heart attack before the pollution of the indoor environment. Individuals could suffer from heart failure – where the heart is too weak to carry blood around the body. Those affected could also experience angina – chest pain that arises when enough oxygen rich blood does not get to your heart. Heart rhythmicity could also be at risk with problems like arrhythmia – too fast or too slow heartbeat, arising. Diabetic patients could also be at risk here as they are likely to have unpleasant heart conditions due to indoor pollution.

Everyone deserves a good life, therefore ensuring you breathe in the only fresh air almost 100 percent of the time is the best way to avoid health risks associated with air pollution. Young children inhale much more air than adults in relation to their body weight. For this reason, they are more likely to inhale contaminants in polluted areas. Older ones, on the other hand, have weaker heart, lungs and defense systems and so more oxygen is definitely needed to provide needed support to their aging cells.

 

Home Air Quality Check for Healthy Indoor Air

Renaud Air offers accurate air quality tests. Learn more about the air you breathe at home.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Drinking Water

Water is the main component of the human body. In fact, the body is composed of between 55 and 78 percent water, depending on body size. Adequate and regular water consumption has numerous health benefits. As an added plus, it has no calories, fat, carbohydrates or sugar.

The amount of water you consume every day plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body. Experts recommend drinking eight to 10 glasses of water each day to maintain good health.

Furthermore, the National Academy of Medicine has determined the adequate intake of total beverage per day (AI) to be about three liters or 13 cups for men and 2.2 liters or nine cups for women.

Water helps keep the body well hydrated, which is essential because almost every cell in the body needs water to function properly.

Here are the top 10 health benefits of drinking water.

1. Relieves Fatigue

If you often feel tired, there is a high chance that it could be due to inadequate consumption of water which makes the body function less efficiently. In fact, fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration.

When there is less water in the body, there is a drop of blood volume which causes the heart to work harder to pump oxygenated blood out in the bloodstream, and other major organs also work less efficiently. Thus, drinking adequate water can help your body function better and reduce fatigue.

2. Improves Mood

Research indicates that mild dehydration (even one or two percent lower hydration level of hydration than optimal) can negatively affect your mood and ability to think.

A small study conducted on 25 women and published in the Journal of Nutrition found that being dehydrated can take a toll on your mood and cognitive function. The color of your urine is a good indicator of your level of hydration. The lighter the color the better the level of hydration and vice versa.

3. Treats Headaches and Migraines

If you have a headache or a migraine, the first thing that you can do to get some relief is to drink plenty of water. Headaches and migraines are often caused by dehydration.

In a study published in the European Journal of Neurology, researchers found that increasing water intake helped reduce the total number of hours and intensity of headaches in the study participants.

4. Helps in Digestion and Constipation

Water also improves the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. This helps in digestion and prevents constipation. Inadequate water in the body often results in constipation as the colon pulls water from the stools to maintain hydration, thereby making them harder and difficult to pass.

Drinking sufficient water boosts your metabolism and helps the body properly break down food. This helps your digestive system work well and promotes regular bowel movements. Warm water, in particular, is good for digestive health.

5. Aids Weight Loss

In a clinical trial, scientists found that drinking two eight-ounce glasses of water prior to meals can help suppress appetite and hence support your weight loss efforts. When you drink water, it fills your stomach and reduces the tendency to eat more.

Plus, it helps increase the rate at which the body burns fat, and promotes the breakdown and elimination of fat cells.

Calorie-free water is also a great replacement for high-calorie drinks like alcohol, sugary fizzy drinks, and sodas that often contribute to weight gain.

6. Flushes Out Toxins

Water is an excellent detoxifier as it helps flush out toxins from your body and get rid of waste primarily through sweat and urine.

It also promotes kidney function and reduces kidney stones by diluting the salts and minerals in urine that cause kidney stones.

Though you need to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, experts warn against drinking too much water (although uncommon still, it is possible) as it may reduce your kidneys’ ability to filter out waste.

Thus, it is recommended to drink the amount of water your body requires. As the amount of water required by the body tends to differ from one person to another, it is usually suggested to drink to your thirst, and also include other fluids and foods with high water content in your diet.

7. Regulates Body Temperature

An ample amount of water in the body also helps regulate body temperature. The thermal properties of water and its ability to release heat from the body when sweat evaporates from the surface of the skin greatly helps maintain an even body temperature.

A well-regulated body temperature also will make you feel more energetic when exercising. Water also helps keep your joints and muscles lubricated, thus preventing cramps and sprains.

8. Promotes Healthy Skin

Water keeps the body well hydrated and improves capillary blood flow, which promotes healthier and younger-looking skin. Water helps replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increases the elasticity in your skin.

When the body gets enough water, your skin will feel moisturized and it will look fresh, soft, glowing and smooth. Also, water helps prevent and treat soft lines, scars, acne, wrinkles and other aging symptoms.

9. Relieves Hangover

Drinking water works as a simple yet effective way to get rid of hangover as well. Being a diuretic, alcohol causes you to pee much more than you take in. Thus, water helps rehydrate the body and speed up recovery.

Experts recommend drinking 16 to 20 ounces of water at night before going to bed after you have had too much alcohol.

10. Beats Bad Breath

Bad breath is a clear sign that you may not be drinking sufficient water. It keeps your mouth moist and washes away food particles and bacteria. It also dilutes the smelly compounds that oral bacteria create.

So, drink sufficient water and also rinse your mouth with water, especially after having a meal or snack to control odors and remove bacteria and food debris stuck between your teeth and gum line.

To conclude, it is essential to make necessary efforts to drink adequate amount of water daily. To derive the various health benefits of water, make sure to drink filtered water. Along with water, also take more fluids and eat more fruits and vegetables that are high in water content.

How to Grill Salmon on a Cedar Plank

Cedar plank grilling is an easy way to infuse salmon with a lush, smoky, aromatic flavor. Follow these 4 simple steps to get this grilling technique just right.

If you have never used wooden grilling planks, don’t worry — we’ll show you how in four easy steps. To get started, pick a plank-grilled salmon recipe you want to try.  Her something you can try,  simple but delicious Lime Barbecue Salmon Sandwiches.

Step 1: Choose a grilling plank

Cedar lends the most intense, aromatic flavor to salmon, but other woods are excellent for plank-grilling, too. We highly recommend the Weber Firespice Cedar Plank for that excellent smoke and flavor. 

Step 2: Prepare the plank

Plank-grilling gives salmon the flavor imparted by a smoker with the convenience of a grill. Be sure to prepare your wood properly to increase moisture for cooking and prevent burning.

Take these steps to prepare your wooden grilling plank:

  • Rinse the plank with water to remove any dust.
  • Fill a sink or other large container with water.
  • Submerge the plank in the water, placing a weight on top of it. Soak the plank for 1 to 4 hours.
  • Enhance the plank’s flavor by adding 1 tablespoon salt to the water. If desired, you may also stir in 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, citrus or berry juice, or flavored liqueur to add more flavor.

Step 3: Prepare the salmon

Leave the salmon filet whole, cut it into serving-size portions, or use individual salmon steaks. You can add a dry rub, marinade, or herb mixture to flavor the salmon. Apply rubs to the salmon up to 24 hours in advance. Add marinades or herb mixtures to the salmon 2 hours or less before cooking.

Step 3.5: Prepare the grill for direct grilling

For a charcoal grill:

  • Light coals using lighter fluid, an electric starter, or a chimney starter. (If using lighter fluid, wait 1 minute before igniting the fire.) Let the fire burn until the coals are covered with a light coating of gray ash.
  • Arrange coals evenly across the bottom of the grill, covering an area 3 inches larger on all sides than the plank.

For a gas grill:

  • To light a gas grill, open the lid. Turn the gas valve to “on” and ignite the grill as directed by the manufacturer. Turn the burners on high. Close the lid and preheat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium.

Step 4: It’s Grill Time! 

  • Place the plank on the grill rack and allow it to preheat for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to crackle and smoke.
  • Lay the salmon onto the plank, cover the grill, and allow the salmon to cook for 12 to 20 minutes, depending on its thickness.
  • To test for doneness, insert a fork into the thickest part of the salmon. If it flakes easily, it’s finished cooking.

How Air Pollution Affects our Brains

For most people, it’s easy to see how air pollution can have a negative impact on respiratory health. After all, it is inhaled into the lungs and through the passageways of the respiratory system; also, anyone who’s ever been in the midst of a lot of smoke – like a bonfire – knows how it can make you cough and splutter. Indeed, the impact that air pollution has on the lungs and on breathing is apparent, but a couple of new studies show a tentative link between pollution and reduced brain performance that is sure to surprise you.

New Information about Pollution and the Human Brain

Hundreds of studies have delved into the effects of air pollution and the respiratory system; far fewer have taken closer looks at the relationship between pollution and the brain. That is beginning to change, though, as several highly respected research groups are examining the ways that air pollution may affect the human brain. Two of the most recent studies – one by the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, and the other by a joint effort between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvard University – present some truly eye-opening information.

The Columbia Study

In the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health study, which was authored by epidemiologist and director Frederica Perera, New York City five-year-olds were the subject of the research in question. The study found that five-year-olds who had been exposed to higher than usual levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH, while still in utero had IQ levels four points lower than those who weren’t exposed to such elevated levels of PAH. The study was conducted by having expectant mothers wear air monitors during their pregnancies, and IQ tests were administered to the children around age five.

The Harvard/UNC-Chapel Hill Study

If news that PAH may play a role in lowered IQs in children isn’t revelatory enough, the joint study by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may be. This 2008 study took a look at a group of people aged twenty to fifty years and found connections between elevated levels of ozone and reduced attention spans, slower reaction times and compromised short term memories. With this study, it is apparent that air pollution’s effects on the brain strike people of all ages and at all levels of development.

What the Studies Mean

Based on these two recent studies – and on several others that are constantly being conducted – it is plain to see that a link of some sort does exist between elevated levels of air pollution and impaired brain function. The Columbia study, in particular, should concern parents-to-be who want to give their children the best start on life possible. Escaping to the country from the smog-filled city, though, really isn’t good enough. Indoor air quality is a major concern, and since most of us spend the majority of our time inside our homes it’s safe to say that it plays a major role in the pollutants that we breathe.

What You Can Do

On a broad scale, it’s apparent that much more needs to be done about levels of exhaust and traffic-related pollution. However, it’s possible to take a proactive approach by making a few key changes in your own life.

 

Staying indoors on especially smoggy days is one great tip. Keeping an eye on Air Quality Levels that are published by local watch groups is another smart way to stay on top of things. However, keeping the indoor air quality of your home as high as possible is imperative – and air cleaners can help.

HEPA Air Purifiers For Mitigating The Effects Of Air Pollution

HEPA air purifiers remove up to 99.97% of airborne particulates from the air in your home; they help with sinus, allergy, and asthma relief and can help protect your respiratory system from harm. Since these recent studies suggest a link between lowered brain functioning and air pollution, it’s possible that using a HEPA based air purifier can lessen the chances of incurring such damages yourself.

 

If you’re interested in using topnotch HEPA air purifiers in your home, you can rely on the experienced and exceptional services of Renaud Air. In turn, you can reduce the chances of exposing yourself and your loved ones to harmful airborne particulates and air pollution that might compromise the health of your brain and your body.

Protect Your Home from  Indoor Air Pollution – We conduct FREE Air Quality Test!

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6 Tips for a Healthy Heart This Valentine’s Day

While flowers and chocolates may be the most traditional Valentine’s Day gifts, experts say that giving the gift of heart health can not only brighten your loved one’s day but keep that spark alive all year long for both of you.

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for both men and women, killing more than 610,000 people every year.

Here are 6 ways to give the gift of a healthy heart:

workout - renaud air

Work Out

Exercise is one of the most important things we can do to improve our overall health. Living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, which leads to diabetes, high blood pressure and ultimately puts us at risk for heart disease and stroke.

Try working out three times each week and aim for 150 minutes total time each week.

 

disconnect

Disconnect

We spend far too much time connected to electronic devices and far too little time connected with our loved ones. Too much screen time is associated with less quality sleep and sleep deprivation can put you at risk for heart disease. Spend quality time together without cell phones or tablets.

Have a heart-to-heart conversation and set aside a time each and every day to make this happen.

female chopping food ingredients

Start Cooking

Joining a cooking class is a great way to spend a romantic evening.  Along with exercise, diet plays a huge role in how we look and feel. Taking a cooking class to learn healthier ways to prepare favorite foods is a wonderful way to bond as a couple and learn new skills that you can share at home.

stop smoking

Quit Smoking

Smoking remains the number one preventable cause of death today. Smoking puts you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, vascular disease and lung cancer — not to mention it makes your breath and clothes smell terrible.

start cooking

Start Dancing

Dancing is a great aerobic activity and a surefire way to rekindle the romance in your love life. After a dinner out, head to the nearest dance club or studio to have loads of fun and burn off the evening’s calories and reducing stress.

yoga stretching

Limit Stress

Stress is directly associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Stress also increases your blood pressure and heart rate. Taking a series of yoga or mindfulness meditation classes can teach you stress-busting skills. Stress activates the brain to tell the body to release hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol which can put extra strain on the heart.

Learn to be mindful of the small things that make you smile. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with an appreciation for your heart and make a commitment to keep your heart healthy.